Ask Amy: Employee in dream job gets a 'B'
DEAR AMY: I'm a 22-year-old woman. I scored a dream job that I feel very fortunate to have.
The CEO is a really nice and smart person. I essentially got hired as someone who deals with customer issues. However, he realized I had a talent for making things look modern and hip, so I've been designing flyers, booklets, brochures, and working on web design.
I think I have a real talent for this. My co-worker is creating similar content, and I'm happy to bounce ideas back and forth with her.
Unfortunately, her work looks like a rough draft. Not a final copy. It looks essentially like high school work.
I tried showing her a couple of tricks I've learned, thinking she'd be OK with me editing her stuff.
One day she came into my office and accused me of going behind her back. She said she wouldn't be working on creating content anymore.
Since then I've felt like I've had to walk on eggshells. I even asked the boss if it was OK if I made some minor edits, and he said he was OK with it.
Now I'm just scared/nervous to voice my opinion. I just want to do what's best for the company.
How do I communicate to her that I'd like to do some edits without her blowing up at me? — NOT TRYING TO BE A B
DEAR NOT TRYING: Striving for excellence does not make you a "B."
Your co-worker didn't hesitate to confront you and express her desire to submit her own work. Does this make her a B? No. She's defending her own mediocrity.
You will encounter this dynamic often in your work life.
When I was your age and in my very first professional job, I allowed myself to be thoroughly dominated by a co-worker who was at the same level professionally as I was. Yet, somehow, I let him gaslight me into believing that I worked for him.
When I (basically) whined about him to a supervisor, she said to me, "There will always be people like this at work, and more often than not, they're the ones who end up being vice presidents of the division. Don't complain. Do something about it. Find your own way." (Hmmm ... I wonder whatever became of that guy.)
Your fear in speaking up is on you. Get over it, and use your voice. If your name is attached to this content, don't ask her permission to improve the work. Do what you need to do, and — if necessary — explain (or apologize) later.
At your next performance review, you should pitch to your boss: "I'd like to create all the marketing content for the company. I think I can take it to the next level." Successful CEOs appreciate brave, ambitious, and creative workers — because, most often — they are reminded of themselves.
DEAR AMY: Imagine my surprise when I learned that my family member, "Barb," did not really get married to her husband, but put on a fake ceremony to give her family and friends the illusion that she was actually getting married.
The marriage ceremony had all of the usual features — minister, vows, rings and reception. They were introduced to those in attendance as "Mr. and Mrs."
The problem is they purposely never got a marriage license. They both knew they weren't legally getting married, but wanted everyone to think they were.
I've learned the reason she did this is that she wanted to continue to receive monetary benefits that her late husband had earned while he was alive, (like Social Security).
I'm sure her family and friends would have been just as happy for her if she had a commitment ceremony.
I believe in the institution of marriage and the traditions and formality of it, just as she has always espoused, too. Do you have any advice or direction for those of us that have learned of this deception? — DECEIVED
DEAR DECEIVED: You (personally) should express yourself, simply and directly, to "Barb" and her deception-partner: "I want you both to know how upset I am regarding your wedding-that-wasn't. I feel totally deceived, and believe that you owe me an apology."
DEAR AMY: Thank you for running the letter from "Bored Dad," who admitted to succumbing to boredom during the COVID shelter-in-place.
Yes! I agree with you that boredom can be a gift. Modern life has not equipped us to simply be still and let our minds wander. — WANDERING
DEAR WANDERING: Free association can lead to ideas, insight, or mentally cataloging every episode of Seinfeld. It's OK!
You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.